Archive for A New Hope

Star Warsiversary

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , on 12 February 2017 by Megan

Let’s talk about what I was doing around this time twenty years ago exactly. It was a Wednesday. We’d moved from Columbus to Champaign County only about six months before, the house wasn’t even painted inside, and I was only just embarking on a decade of epic sulking about being removed from the house I was born in. I was eleven, loud and always in a hurry, emotional and easily frustrated, passionate about reading and spending every possible hour out in the woods.

megan_rosie1

We were never a very TV-oriented family. Didn’t even have a set until I was three and that was just because Grandma got a new one. However, shortly after settling in Champaign County, we got a television four times bigger than the old one, and we started getting a pizza once a week and watching a movie over dinner. Being a homeschooling family with a full-time mom and a dad working from home, we defied traditional “weekends,” and Wednesday was pizza/movie night by virtue of being the day we went to the store. Unbeknownst to me, Mom had picked up a movie that afternoon that would change my life.

We gathered round the TV, I was sitting in my usual spot on the Mission oak couch with my legs drawn up so I could balance my plate on my knees — pepperoni pizza — and I could look out the sliding glass door to the screened in porch and the yard beyond. February 12 was a cold snowy day and there were the remains of several miniature snowmen I’d made and painted that afternoon.

dscn5169

“Today I played in the snow. Made 5 snowmen (small ones) and made snow paint. Mom bought STAR WARS. We still have to get the other two in the trilogy. Played computer.”

I remember a lot of things very clearly about that first-ever viewing. Hearing the first lines and almost forgetting about my pizza. Being amazed that the first characters were so unapologetically robots. I thought the Stormtroopers were robots themselves. Actually I thought Vader was one, too. It was like a nothing but robots celebration! Like so many others seeing Star Wars for the first time, I was awed because it was like nothing I’d ever seen before. At 11, I’d seen very few movies at all, mostly animated or time-honored musicals like The King and I and Sound of Music. Definitely nothing like this 1970s scifi flick. I misheard half of what was going on (“Jedi knife” and “cologne wars,” for example) and thought Han and Chewie were the most interesting things in the whole film. I was impressed that the heroine looked exactly like me if I didn’t have bangs, though — I was going through a fit of being sick of every girl being a freakin’ blonde.

There’s a curious contradiction in the first time I saw Star Wars. On one hand, I was clearly struck by it enough that I recorded it in all caps and underlined in my diary. On the other hand, it was as much a footnote as the forgettable snow paint. I don’t remember being any more enthused about it than any other movie during pizza night (which included The Great Panda Adventure, a film about which I remember nothing except the kid said “American Gladiators” a lot . . . and there were pandas), but I must have expressed some extreme interest in it because in the two weeks between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, I watched every interview on TV that even remotely referenced Star Wars. I believe I’m the only person on the planet who saw the carbon-freezing scene for the first time on Oprah (or Rosie? I could never tell those two shows apart) during an interview with Billy Dee Williams before I even knew the name of the second film.

Yes, Return of the Jedi is the film that made my obsession bloom, but A New Hope gave me something. Over the years, it’s traded orbits with Attack of the Clones for being my least favorite of the six, but it is an amazing movie and it planted the seed of a love and passion that has been part of me for twenty years. Twenty years, beginning with stories scribbled in atrocious handwriting, making my own paper dolls because I wasn’t allowed to buy action figures, reading the books at the speed of light so I could get more; twenty years of anticipating new releases, of rewatching a film more than anyone could think possible, of buying books and toys and games. Twenty years of loving a film franchise as I’ve loved nothing else and as no one else has ever loved it.

Happy anniversary, Star Wars. Here’s to the next twenty years!

Review: lolwut?

Posted in Fun, Reviews with tags , , , on 31 December 2015 by Megan

Instead of April Fools, I’m going to introduce New Year Fools. Because I got this book for Christmas and just have to share how outrageously kooktastic it is. Also, what else does anyone have to do on New Years Eve at 20 to midnight? Oh, yeah, play Star Wars The Old Republic . . . which is why this is a scheduled post XD

weirdo

The ultimate thing to have mixed feelings about. First of all, it’s extremely visually appealing — that’s the best thing I can say about it. It’s got truly beautiful artwork. It’s also truly insane. On the one hand, I think it’s a very interesting concept, but on the other hand, especially given its copyright date, I feel like it was partly created just to lampoon George Lucas and further undermine his work. “Look, look what kind of stuff he’d give you. But the great Disney will give you better Star Wars.” I’m probably importing a great deal of subtext to even have that thought, but the comic itself doesn’t acknowledge just how much creative license it inevitably took. “This was George’s vision!” they insist — when Lucas himself insisted that his vision was pretty fluid and ended up having little to do with either this comic or the 1977 theatrical release the fanboys crave so much.

DSCN3996

Anyway, when I got it for Christmas, it was something I had never heard of at all. And I remain the most impressed by the really amazing artwork. Since I don’t get anything else out of comics, I do require them to look good, and it looks very good. I really enjoy the style although I don’t know why they used Jay of Jay and Silent Bob as the model for the protagonist.

jaystarkiller

You thought I was exaggerating? I wasn’t. That is clearly the model.

DSCN4465

On the other hand, Vader as the non-Force-sensitive military commander with a cyborg eye is some definite eye-candy. So’s Valorum, the Sith prince who is not Vader. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Anyway, the plot does its job by being an early draft version of the movie we’re all familiar with. Jay Annikin Starkiller is the son of a former Jedi-Bendu; his younger brother has been slain by the evil empire. His father apprentices him to General Skywalker, who is seeking a war with the empire because they’re evil and must be stopped. Princess Leia wants to be heading off to college, but since the Empire has attacked her peaceful homeworld and her father has been killed, that option is off the table. Starkiller and Skywalker escape the planet with Leia’s younger brothers with the aid of the reptilian Han Solo, and they all go to the Wookiee homeworld for some reason. Leia has been captured by Darth Vader and a Sith, so of course Starkiller comes to rescue her. Valorum decides to help Starkiller escape, and then Queen Leia gives Starkiller accolades or whatever.

DSCN4464

Apart from the sheer novelty, the only thing I liked about the story was the Sith Prince fighting alongside the Jedi Padawan to free the princess. That part was actually really cool and I’m sorry no element of it made it into any of the six films. A lot of their dialogue was really charming and it made the villains a little more complex than they ultimately end up being in the movies themselves.

The comic actually manages to have even fewer women than the original trilogy, by virtue of adding nearly 20 men to the character roster but leaving Leia as the only female with any lines. (Her mother and an instantly-abandoned handmaiden appear only briefly.) Normally I prefer my literature light on the ladies, but there was something pretty tired about it in this one. Maybe because the “love story” kicks off with Annikin Starkiller literally beating his love interest unconscious the first time he meets her.

DSCN4461

This is so wrong on so many levels, I was left speechless. First of all, Starkiller is established as a young soldier who has led men into battle, so he’s not some kid. Princess Leia on the other hand is literally departing for her first semester of college — so, a fresh high school graduate is punched unconscious by a war veteran. The real kicker is that he beats her unconscious because she’s insisting he also bring her teenage handmaiden with her to safety. He refuses because his orders didn’t explicitly mention bringing anyone else. So he beats her unconscious. This is NOT okay and I don’t know whose idea it was. Horrifying.

The comic also features some other fun instances of abuse — the senior Starkiller is a hilariously unbalanced half cyborg who whips his son with a whip for being distracted at the news that they are under attack.

DSCN4462

Our heroes! Woo!

DSCN4457

So, yes, a novelty, very entertaining, which I have given a place of honor among all the Star Wars apocrypha that I own. Still more canon than Disney! *ba dum tiss*

Favorite ANH Moment

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , on 22 May 2014 by Megan

I know it’s very common to consider the 1997 tweaks to A New Hope the mustache on the Mona Lisa,” but I for one love them all. I love seeing all of Mos Eisley in its ugly to death glory, and I especially love the cantina. I have always loved the cantina, but I especially love the special edition’s cantina.

Odds are, we serve your kind! (Unless you're a droid)

Odds are, we serve your kind! (Unless you’re a droid)

There’s a reason my Yahoo! Group dedicated to Star Wars love was set in a cantina on Tatooine called the Smoking Orange. And that reason is, I love this bar. The assorted villainy of twelve systems all congregate at Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina, and I love it.

Mos Eisley Cantina!

Mos Eisley Cantina!

First of all, the soundtrack. This song comes out of nowhere, not like anything I was expecting to hear in a space epic, and there’s nothing scum and villainy love more than some good old fashioned space jazz, am I right? (Star Wars books dubbed this style of music “jizz,” presumably because the Urban Dictionary didn’t exist yet. I’m heartily sorry I have to tell you this, but I am the Star Wars Librarian and my head is crammed with this kind of knowledge.)

Doop doo doop doo dooda dooh . . .

Doop doo doop doo dooda dooh . . .

This is the sound my phone makes constantly because it’s both my alarm and like the only assigned ringtone I ever use. (Unassigned calls go to the Imperial march, and I wonder why I get so nervous every time I have to answer the phone. . . .) These two cantina song are quite easily two of my favorite tunes ever.

Come here often? Oh, wait, I'm the bartender...

Come here often? Oh, wait, I’m the bartender…

Bar scenes are classics in westerns, and Star Wars has more than a little in common with westerns as you know I’ve discussed before. Their clientele isn’t likely to be moisture farmers, but rather the traders and spacers who float through trying not to be noticed and looking for cash. The barroom fight, too, is a staple, though Obi-Wan handles it a lot quicker and with less orthodoxy than John Wayne.

IG-88's benighted parents?

IG-88’s benighted parents?

It’s Luke’s first step into a larger world. This kid who has never traveled past Anchorhead, never known any outside of his small circle of human friends unless it was itinerant Jawas, suddenly sees the reality of his daydreams put right in front of him. And it’s dark and smelly and a little intimidating. But he tries to play it cool.

In short, there is nothing not to like about this great scene. Music, barroom fight, Han Solo . . . It’s all good!

I'm long on charm and I look good in vests.

I’m long on charm and I look good in vests.

Guest Post: Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

Posted in Reviews, Spotlight with tags , , , , , on 1 December 2013 by Megan

This review is from my new favorite blog,  The Ramblings of a (Future) Jedi Librarian. I was given this book in August, and it is well worth the read for English majors, Shakespeare buffs, and Star Wars fans alike! But I’ll let the Jedi Librarian sum up.

In honor of Star Wars Reads Day, I’m reviewing one of the newest Star Wars books to hit the shelves.  This is quite possibly the oddest, yet coolest combination to come out from Quirk Books, who added Zombies to Pride and Prejudice to make a runaway bestseller.  This version by Ian Doescher combines my first love with The Bard, and as a former English major who took two Shakespeare classes I can’t resist it.  Translating the famous lines of Star Wars to iambic pentameter has some hilarious results, and translating some of Shakespeare’s famous lines to a Star Wars setting are equally hilarious.

“In time so long ago begins our play,

in star-crossed galaxy far, far away.”

These last two lines of the prologue, a re-imaging of the famous yellow crawl, invokes part of the prologue from Romeo and Juliet.  At least in my opinion.  The opening lines of Act 1 Scene one though is a clear parody of the opening lines of Richard the III.

“Now is the winter of our discontent,

Made glorious summer by this sun of York.” – Richard the II

Becomes…

“Now is the summer of our happiness

Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!” – C-3PO

I laughed hysterically.  And it’s not the last time a line mirrors or spoofs a line from a Shakespeare play.  Clearly, Doescher knows his Shakespeare.  And his Star Wars.  The nods to Shakespeare are part of what makes this spoof so funny, it’s not just in iambic pentameter, it actually uses his plays as a template and inspiration.  And as Doescher believes, Star wars is full of characters and events commonly found in Shakespeare plays.  Lovers, sword fights, evil villains, rogues, princesses, good vs. evil, the old wizard or kindly friar like character.  Even if you aren’t familiar with Shakespeare, I think you’ll be laughing at the hilarity of it, or at the very least at the drawings of favorite characters dressed in Medievil dress.

Unfortunately, I found the almost constant asides by Obi-Wan and C-3PO anoying after a while.  I know Shakespeare utilized the aside to have the characters talk directly to the audience, but I don’t recall him using it as often as Doescher seems to.  A few times is OK, but in almost every seen starts to get annoying.

That being said, it’s my only criticism.  Overall it’s a hilarious retelling of a Scifi classic with classic literary flair.  I recommend it for English Majors and Shakespeare fans that also happen to be Star Wars fans, and for Star Wars fans that love a good laugh, and just happen to be Shakespeare fans as well.  In the mean time, I’ll be waiting for a Sheakespearean treatment to The Empire Strikes Back.

(review via; check the book out here)

Party Planning 2

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , on 8 October 2013 by Megan

I’m a party planner and don’t have but a scratch of surface knowledge of Star Wars… I was hired to put together a child’s 6th birthday party with an adult room – Star Wars Theme. I have lots of ideas … but having trouble organizing them so that they make sense. I was hoping you could help. Please give me any ideas you think are an absolute must…. but also help me to locate the best “scene to recreate” for 4 party rooms… one bar scene, one training scene, one food scene, and one epic scene. My hopes is that the Adult Room would be similar and serve similar drinks to that of the Tatooine Bar Scene?? the Activity Room would resemble that of the Padawan or Jedi training scene?? The Epic Scene would create an entry way and general decor of the party house and that the food table would be set in a scene that included a banquet or food scene from the movie… Any help is more than welcome. The child happens to also be my Godson and I really wan the party to be awesome! Thanks so much. Glad I found you blog. — Amy

Hi, Amy, glad to hear from you! And I hope I can help you out with your ideas. You may have seen my earlier post, Party Planner, where I outline some ideas I have for upcoming Star Wars Parties and also link to some other blog entries I’ve done on Star Wars parties I’ve had with friends in the past. There’s also some other resources there from blogs I’m not affiliated with. I also collect ideas rigorously on my Pinterest board Star Wars parties — make sure to check it out! There are a lot of cake ideas there. I’m not going to go into cake in this post, first of all because people usually have ideas for that first, and also I’ve also done a few posts in the past about cakes. Other resources — Clean & Scentsible has a post all about the kinds of food and activities she did for a 6-year-old’s Star Wars party, so I’ll direct you to that as well (here). That includes invitations, printables for food labels and gift tags, and some food and decor ideas.

Love this idea! — Clean & Scentsible

You’re in luck with the children’s party because most Star Wars parties are geared for children. (I’ve never understood why because I think these movies are too adult for little kids.) Because it’s so easy to do the children’s party angle of things, I’ll concentrate a little more on the adult side of the party and also on your desire to make it into a cohesive whole. One of my favorite party ideas ever comes from At Second Street (here): she used black vinyl tablecloths from the dollar store to cover windows and doors and painted stars on them to look like space outside.

I regard this as brilliant — At Second Street

I think this really helps set the atmosphere and the tone. Something I’ve done for every Star Wars party I’ve had is gotten everyone involved to bring a variety of their own Star Wars collection for decoration: toys, trading cards, posters, action figures.

Star Wars fans love toys. This is scientific fact.

Star Wars fans love toys. This is scientific fact.

I love your idea of dividing it by room. Theme parties, in my opinion, can only be improved by adding more and more themes to them. I would suggest for the entryway imitating the classic “scroll” that kicks off each movie; this would be pretty easy with the blacked out windows/doors I link to from At Second Street, and having a big poster with a “scrolling text” intro of your own to the party . . . “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, partygoers assembled to celebrate the best birthday around,” etc., something like that. I’d also break out any cardboard standups anyone happens to have for this part (or you can get them for 25-35 from Amazon).

For the adult’s area, doing the Mos Eisley Cantina is a great idea, I think, though a challenge to decorate. Fun fact: the cantina is actually called Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina.

star_wars_cantina

A wretched hive of scum and villainy

There is a certain Middle Eastern flair to the Cantina — check out the tile, hookahs, and silver bowls of dates! Try making your own glow lamps (seen on the tables) using this tutorial from Gluesicks (here). A Cantina must is kickin’ tunes — the A New Hope soundtrack includes “Cantina Band” and “Cantina Band #2,” and the Return of the Jedi soundtrack has other songs for ambiance including “Source Music: Jabba’s Baroque Recital” (very quiet, good for background filler) and “Jedi Rocks,” the dance number from Jabba’s throne room. Amazon has some Star Wars party music tracks that include the original dance number from Jabba’s palace as well as the disco version of the Star Wars Main Theme.

ANH_stills8

You should be cautious.

Another bar suggestion would be the Outlander Club seen in Attack of the Clones.

Anthony Daniels' Outlander Club Cameo

Anthony Daniels’ Outlander Club Cameo

The setting here is a bit more sophisticated and less rugged. Modern clubs would be more of an inspiration for this one than, say, Moroccan and rugged influence for the cantina. There’s also a sports bar atmosphere to the Outlander Club, so Star Wars “sports” posters could help — things like podracing and smashball.

Food is hard in the Star Wars universe because characters just don’t eat that much. You could use Dex’s Diner for the dining room, but if you want to focus on a banquet or celebratory location, you could go for the Throne Room at the end of A New Hope.

epiv_throne_room

Celebration on Yavin IV

Of course, the finale room here is both easy and hard. All you need is to give a sense of space and some greenery.

celebration
Our heroes assemble

The party pinboard I linked to up there contains a lot of great ideas for food and drinks, and one think you can always do is have on hand the sort of drinks you would anyway and print Star Wars labels for them — “Corellian ale,” “Tatooine sunrise,” “Coruscant coffee.” You can be pretty creative with the names — anything with a dark tint can be “Sith,” “Emperor,” “Darth,” and if it’s light-colored, “Jedi” or “Rebel” will work just fine. For the kids, a drink mentioned in the films are “Jawa Juice” — most people just use punch —  and there’s always “Yoda Soda” — my favorite recipe for which is 7-Up with lime sherbert. Mmm. Here’s a link with some more food ideas including Yoda Soda (here).

Jedi Training is a great theme for kids, especially with all the Jedi training games that are out there. Here’s the youngling training room as seen in Attack of the Clones.

Yoda and the Younglings

Yoda and the Younglings

Jedi Temple scenes mostly convey space, greenery, and clean bright areas, sort of like a more interesting version of a yoga studio. The pool noodle lightsabers I linked to earlier are brilliant, and kids can have the fun of making their own lightsabers before moving on to “training exercises.” At Second Street includes how to make a quick youngling robe, and I’d think those helmets  would be easy to mock up with cheap plastic mixing bowls and a little spray paint.

Erikstormtrooper’s Engli-Besh font

As a final resource, if you want to give invites or printouts some extra flair, consider using Erikstromtrooper’s brilliant “Engli-Besh” font available free (here). “Aurebesh” is the alphabet seen in the movies, but it’s not English and so only your most hardcore guests could understand signs written in it! Engli-Besh gives a Star Wars flair to the everyday alphabet. Also vital for general signage is the “classic” Star Wars font, available from FontSpace (here). Both of these font sites are 100% safe; I download from them myself.

I notice I spent most of this post skipping back and forth between A New Hope and Attack of the Clones, when there are really six films to choose from. However, I think the visuals in these two suit your needs the best. I hope the resources I’ve provided for you will be inspirational; just remember that Star Wars fans are usually pretty easy to please. Just be imaginative and remember, for Jedi’s sake!, not to accidentally bring in a Star Trek reference! :) May the Force be with you and your godson’s party — and I’d love to see some pictures of what you come up with!

Something You Wished Would Happen But Never Did

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , , , on 21 March 2013 by Megan

What I really lament are all the missed opportunities for really integrating the films. They can really be extremely separate, and yet there’s no reason for this. Lucas put together a puzzle, but left off all the edge pieces. I wish, before writing the Prequels, that he had sat down with the Original Trilogy and a notebook, and written down everything everyone ever says about pre-ANH happenings, dates, ages, events, and then referenced or incorporated it in the scripts for E2 and E3. This is where the OT filmography is clearly more masterful, because there are moments in ANH that clearly wink at E3, which hadn’t even been made yet! It would be so easy for E3 to reference ANH, but it doesn’t! The absolute, bare bones, cement floor least Lucas could’ve done was establish a sensible timeline of minimum 22 years between E3 and ANH. As it is, he simply demonstrates he has no idea how aging works.

Missed opportunities between the prequel and original trilogy are rife, such as the relationship between Bail Organa and Obi-Wan Kenobi (“years ago you served with my father during the Clone Wars); the hint that Luke and Leia were born on Dagobah (“something familiar about this place — I feel like –” [I’ve been here before?]); and even Obi-Wan’s reputation, as Tarkin knows the name, and Vader’s hardly the reminisce-over-beers kind of guy. But they’re not the only missed opportunities I mourn.

The most glaring of all these missed opportunities is the relationship between Episode II and Episode III. E2 is universally accepted as the weak stepchild of the series, but so much of that is caused directly by things that never take place in E3! Attack of the Clones really didn’t unravel until the next film refused to pick up the threads. The weak places in both could have been negated if they had been approached as the same film split in two instead of as two separate films. Unfortunately, what we’re left with is a lot of untapped potential.

As the most obvious example, I present the huge mystery set up in E2 about who deleted Kamino from the Jedi Archives.

“Clear your minds” is Lucas’ mantra for a reason.

OBI-WAN: Master Yoda, who could delete information from the Jedi Archives? That’s impossible, isn’t it?

YODA: Dangerous and disturbing this puzzle is. Removed the data, someone must have, but who and why? Meditate upon this, I will.

— ten minutes earlier —

JOCOSTA NU: I hate to say it, but it appears that the system you’re looking for doesn’t exist. If an item does not appear in our records, it doesn’t exist!

Yes, who? The suspense is killing us! Ahem. I thought about and discussed this aspect of the movie for three years, only to find it was utterly forgotten and never addressed in Episode III, despite the enormous implications. Probably this forgotten plotline is one of my biggest regrets for things-that-didn’t-happen. Jocasta Nu’s over-quick denial, unhelpful demeanor, and (omitted) crush on Count Dooku all suggested that she was on the Separatist’s side. (While archivists are generally unhelpful even in real life — I learned that in library school — she’s over the top.) There is a lot to unpack in this whole thread, and I wish Lucas had taken it there. Even her name, Jocasta, after the wife-mother of Oedipus? There could have been so much more!

Episode III just starts too in medias res, you just can’t grasp what’s going on. I mean, I love the beginning of that movie, I really love it, but the prequels are so individualized, nothing draws them together or with the OT. The missed opportunities are pretty sad, things Lucas forgot, but I didn’t. George, I don’t forget. It makes for a lot of chaos, but the overall strength of the films make up for their obvious weaknesses — which is also true about the original trilogy, though that’s something the fanboys don’t like to notice.

Sand People

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , , , on 26 March 2012 by Megan

The SW movies really portray the Sand People as a savage, dangerous, and fierce people. I was wondering if there was additional information on this people group? There are tantalizing glimpses in some of the encyclopedia and on the wookipedia but they are only glimpses. I’d really like to know more about their culture, and family life. Thanks for digging about for me! — Michelle

Tusken Raider costumes

A family of Sand People

We are first introduced to the Sand People in A New Hope with Luke’s exclamation, “Sand people, or worse!” Tusken Raider is actually a pejorative, a name given to these mysterious nomads after a series of attacks on Fort Tusken. They attack Luke for no apparent reason in A New Hope, and we learn a few things from Obi-Wan Kenobi about them — that they are easily startled but not easily driven off (returning swiftly with reinforcements), that they travel single file to hide their numbers, that they are not extremely accurate with blasters. Luke simply describes them as dangerous. In Attack of the Clones, Cliegg Lars brusquely defines them as animals, as does Anakin after destroying an entire village. In Phantom Menace, we only see them camped out on the Podrace track to take potshots at the racers.

Packers! Wooo! Wait, what?

Packers! Wooo! Wait, what?

So really very little is expressed in the films about their culture. We find them to be responsible for the death of Luke’s grandmother (though what kind of mentally deficient person goes out before dawn to pick mushrooms alone, in an area known for the presence of Sand People and during a period of excessive hunting by them — smacks of collusion to me), and nearly for the death of Luke himself. But why did they kidnap Shmi and torture her to death, if you believe that happened?

A typical family; children dress in a unisex fashion

A typical family; children dress in a unisex fashion

Lucas’ inspiration for the Sand People is clearly seen in the American Indian tribes as well as the nomadic Bedouin of the Middle East. They live in small tribes and war with both each other and the “invaders” of Tatooine, the moisture farmers and other settlers that imposed themselves on the arid planet. Unlike the Jawas, which quickly adapted to colonists and their technology, the Sand People resisted all attempts at infiltration, peace, and even extermination. Completely suited to the desert and untraceable, they are actually only vulnerable to the meddling settlers when they attack — which they do regularly in an attempt to protect and keep separate their sacred places, particularly hidden springs, which are of great interest to the settlers for obvious reasons.

There are two banthas down there, but I don't see . . . wait a minute--

There are two banthas down there, but I don’t see . . . wait a minute–

The men are warriors, and each one is specially bonded with his bantha — great shaggy creatures that roam the Dune Sea and form a close and intimate relationship with their riders. When a warrior is killed, the bantha is driven into the desert, never to be ridden again. When a bantha dies, the warrior goes out alone into the desert where he will face death, or, if the spirit of his bantha wishes him to continue on, he will find a new bantha and return home with it.

Mrs. Raider to you

Mrs. Raider to you

Children are not differentiated male from female until they come of a certain age, and the women, as in a typical tribal system, care for the homes, meals, and families. Wood, such as the ancient poles they use for their tent supports, is jealously guarded and protected. The Sand People consider it greatly humiliating for anyone apart from their spouse to see any part of their skin, but their elaborate and heavy coverings serve many practical purposes as well; the eye guards filter out sand and harsh desert light, and the mouth protectors contain tubes to a water supply and prevent dehydration. Their skin is protected from the elements, and they are not much bothered by the harshness of their environment, although as a result, no one actually knows what a Sand Person looks like beneath.

Sand Children are called "Uli"

Sand Children are called “Uli”

Marriages are always arranged. Because they always hide their features from even their own family members, it is important that meticulous records be kept and managed so that no one will accidentally marry a close family member. In this capacity, the Storyteller — who is also the tribal historian — is really the most important person in the entire village.

Ralph McQuarrie's beautiful concept art of a Sand People village

Ralph McQuarrie’s beautiful concept art of a Sand People village

The Sand People are as harsh as the environment in which they live, and there are really no such things as mistakes or small slips; this is very evident in the explanation of the apprentice storyteller, who must memorize the exact wording to each story, each exact syllable. If he so much as forgets or changes a word, the master storyteller is waiting to kill him. No room for mistakes or alterations.

A warrior with a gaffi stick

A warrior with a gaffi stick

Their primary weapon is the gaffi stick, which has a sharpened point and four sharp blades, as well as a fearsome pointed knob on the other end. They are very deft with these and can cut a man to pieces readily. Their “bandage” footwear enables them to move easily in the sand without leaving any trace and without stepping on anything dangerous.